REVIEW: XXX

CAST

Vin Diesel (Riddick)
Asia Argento (Marie Antoinette)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Marton Csokas (Sin City 2)
Michael Roof (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Richy Müller (The Poll Diaries)
Werner Daehn (Speed Racer)
Tom Everett (Die Hard 2)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Thomas Ian Griffith (Vampires)
Eve (With This Ring)
William Hope (Slumber)

An NSA mission to collect information on Anarchy 99, a mercenary group of former Russian soldiers goes awry when the agent’s identity is discovered. Anarchy 99 has a biochemical weapon named “Silent Night,” missing since the fall of the Soviet Union, and NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons believes the only way to get close is to recruit an agent that would not have any ties to the United States government or any formal training that Anarchy 99 would recognise. He selects Xander Cage, also known as X, an extreme sports professional and host of his own television show, who was recently captured by the FBI for stealing and destroying a prominent California senator’s car as an act of protest. Gibbons puts Cage through two tests– stopping a staged diner robbery and escaping from a drug cartel’s plantation in Colombia during an army raid, each test seeing Cage demonstrate both his physical and psychological skills as he both defeats his foes and rapidly assesses the situation before him– and offers Cage the mission. Cage is convinced to accept the mission after Gibbons uses a carrot/stick technique, with a clean slate as the carrot and a prison sentence as the stick.Xander goes to Prague and meets with the NSA support team including Czech agent Milan Sova, who explains that Cage is only in Prague because Gibbons had put pressure on Sova and if he does anything wrong, he will be deported back to America. Cage flips this show of authority by saying that he doesn’t want to be there and pointing out that he’s never been under anyone’s jurisdiction. While scouting an Anarchy 99 party, Xander purposely reveals Sova’s cover, which allows him to gain the confidence of Anarchy 99’s leader, Yorgi. Through Yorgi’s brother Kolya, who is a fan of Cage’s show, Xander gains critical information on the military background of Anarchy 99’s members. Xander is attending a car deal with Yorgi at his invitation when Sova shows up and starts a firefight. Xander shoots Sova with a fake blood-splatter round to make it look like he is dead, which causes Yorgi to fully accept Xander as a member of Anarchy 99. Xander returns with Yorgi to their headquarters, a castle outside of the city, where he meets Yorgi’s girlfriend Yelena. Xander finds Yelena trying to break into Yorgi’s safe and, taking her to a nearby restaurant, tells her he is an American agent. Yelena gets a call from Kirill, a sniper working for Yorgi, who reveals they know of Xander’s true identity before he starts firing on them. Yelena and Cage work together to help each other escape by staging a fight between them, which results in Cage knocking Yelena out with a serving tray. Cage is then kidnapped by the NSA team and taken to Gibbons, who tells Xander to return home since his cover is blown, but Xander refuses as he fears for Yelena’s safety from both Yorgi and a planned attack on the castle by special forces. Xander learns that Sova purposely blew his cover.Xander sneaks back to the castle and overhears Yorgi’s plans to equip a waterborn drone named Ahab with “Silent Night” to release the biochemical in the middle of every major city, starting with Prague. Yorgi tests the weapon on his scientists, killing them. Xander rescues Yelena from Yorgi and kills Kolya. At a safehouse, Yelena explains she is an FSB agent, working undercover to get close to Yorgi two years ago, but six months after the start of the operation, her contacts abandoned her. Xander organises the rest of the NSA team in Prague for an assault on Yorgi’s castle. Xander himself jumps out of a plane and snowboards to a nearby monitoring station which Anarchy 99 uses to secure the castle and destroys it by starting an avalanche, but is captured by Yorgi’s forces. Xander is taken back to Yorgi, who reveals he has captured Yelena again and has known about her true identity all along. As the special forces attack starts, Xander and Yelena use the opportunity to escape, killing Kirill and Yorgi, who already launched Ahab towards the center of Prague. Xander alerts Gibbons, who has the Czech military prepare to destroy the Ahab via airstrikes with the unfortunate side effect of releasing some of the biochemical agent. Xander harpoons Ahab from the car, grabs the hard drive containing the priming and targeting information and flips one of the primed bio-warheads, causing the drone to sink underwater. Xander is rescued from the freezing river and Gibbons promises Yelena American citizenship. Xander and Yelena are relaxing in Bora Bora when Gibbons calls, telling him there is another mission. Xander ignores him and goes with Yelena.XXX is a good film, and is moderately entertaining, though considerably too long; trimmed to 95 minutes or so, it could have been an even more decent movie.

REVIEW: NOAH

Starring

Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Emma Watson (Harry Potter)
Ray Winstone (The Gunman)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)
Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending)
Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Madison Davenport (Sharp Objects)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Nick Nolte (Gangster Squad)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Jack Angel (A.I.)

Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)As a young boy, Noah witnesses his father, Lamech, killed by a young Tubal-cain. Years later, an adult Noah lives with his wife Naameh and their sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After seeing a flower grow instantly from the ground and being haunted by dreams of a great flood, Noah takes them to visit his grandfather Methuselah.Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, and Leo McHugh Carroll in Noah (2014)They encounter a group of people recently killed and take in and adopt the lone survivor, a girl named Ila. Ila is treated for an abdominal wound and will survive, but Naameh determines that she will be unable to have children. Noah and his family are chased by the murderers and seek refuge with the fallen angels known as the “Watchers”, in whose territory Methuselah lives. The Watchers are confined on Earth as stone golems for helping humans banished from the Garden of Eden. Methuselah gives Noah a seed from Eden and tells Noah that he was chosen for a reason. Returning to his tent that night, Noah plants the seed in the ground. The Watchers arrive the next morning and debate whether they should help Noah until they see water spout from the spot where Noah planted the seed. After a forest grows instantly, the Watchers agree to help Noah and his family build an ark.Emma Watson in Noah (2014)After birds fly to the ark, Tubal-cain arrives with his followers and confronts Noah. Noah defies Tubal-cain and remarks that there is no escape for the line of Cain. Tubal-cain retreats and decides to build weapons to defeat the Watchers and take the ark. As the ark nears completion, animals of various species enter the ark and are sedated with incense. With Ila having become enamored of Shem, Noah goes to a nearby settlement to find wives for Ham and Japheth but, seeing the settlers selling their daughters for food, he abandons his effort and begins believing that the Creator wants all of humanity dead. He tells his family that he will not seek wives for his younger sons. After the flood, they will be the last humans and there will be no new human generations.Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)Devastated that he will be alone his entire life, Ham runs into the forest. Naameh begs Noah to reconsider but, when he will not, she goes to Methuselah for help. Ila encounters Methuselah who cures her infertility. Ham, searching for a wife on his own, befriends the refugee Na’el. After it starts raining, Tubal-cain becomes angry that he was not chosen to be saved and incites his followers to make a run for the ark. Noah finds Ham in the forest and forces Ham to save himself, but leaves Na’el to die when she is caught in an animal trap. Noah’s family enter the ark except for Methuselah, who remains in the forest and is swept away by the rushing waters. The Watchers fight off Tubal-cain and his mob of followers, sacrificing themselves and ascending to heaven, their reward for protecting Noah. As the flood drowns the remaining humans, an injured Tubal-cain climbs onto the ark and solicits Ham, playing on anger toward Noah for allowing Na’el to die.Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)Ila discovers she is pregnant as the rains stop and begs the Creator to let the child live. Noah interprets the ending of the rain to mean he must ensure the extinction of humans and, against his wife’s protests, resolves that, if the child is a girl, he will kill her. Months pass, and Ila and Shem build a raft to escape Noah’s resolve, but Noah discovers and burns it. Ila then starts feeling labor pains and gives birth to twin girls. After Ham calls Noah telling him the beasts are awake and eating each other, Tubal-cain emerges and attempts to hit Noah. Noah and Tubal-cain engage in combat. Shem promises Ila that Noah will not harm their daughters and goes to stop him. He attacks Noah as Tubal-cain falls to the ground only to be knocked out. Tubal-cain eventually forces Noah to the edge of the raft, but Ham kills him with a dagger before he can shove Noah in the ocean. Noah picks himself up and finds Ila and the babies, intending to kill the children, but spares them upon looking at his granddaughters and only feeling love.Jennifer Connelly in Noah (2014)Upon exiting the ark on the new land, a shameful Noah goes into isolation in a nearby cave, making wine in which to drown his sorrows. Ham expresses disappointment for his father’s current state of unseemly drunkenness and nakedness before leaving his kin to live alone. Having reconciled at the behest of Ila, Noah blesses the family as the beginning of a new human race and all witness waves of immense celestial rainbows.Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, and Leo McHugh Carroll in Noah (2014)There is a lot of brutal, gory, violent and disturbing content and some sexuality in this, none of it gratuitous. I recommend this to anyone not put off by it being based on a Genesis account or the fact that it takes liberties with it.

REVIEW: DREAM HOUSE

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Naomi Watts (Shut In)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Rachel G. Fox (Spork)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)In 2007, Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) leaves his job as a successful editor in New York in order to spend more time with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and their two daughters, as well as to write his own book. At first, the family appears to be happy in their new home, until they discover that its previous occupants, a mother and her two small daughters, were shot to death in the house. Public opinion has condemned the father, Peter Ward, as the person responsible, but there was not enough evidence to convict Peter in court and he was also deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Ward has been recently released from police custody and Will begins to feel he is seeing Peter watching the house.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Will visits Greenhaven Psychiatric facility, where Peter has been held for five years. He learns that on the night of the murders, Peter was shot in the head by his wife Elizabeth, who had somehow grabbed the murder weapon in the moments just before her death. In recovery, Peter could not believe he had committed the murders and so he no longer believed he was Peter Ward. He chewed his own name off all of his identification bracelets/cards/tags, leaving only his Greenhaven I.D. sequence, which revealed Peter Ward and Will Atenton to be the same person.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Unable to believe this, Will rushes home and we see his home is actually run down and condemned. Peter visits his neighbor, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). Ann had been a good friend to the Wards and never believed Peter was the killer. Returning to the house, Peter remembers he was on the phone with Libby when she stumbled on a burglar, who shot the little girls and wounded Libby. Peter attacked the gunman and Libby accidentally shot Peter.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)Ann’s ex-husband Jack and the gunman burst into the now-decrepit Ward home. It is revealed that the hit man had been hired to kill Ann, but broke into the wrong house and chose to kill the witnesses. Jack shoots the hit man in the abdomen before staging the scene so it will appear that Peter has murdered again before burning the house down. Peter regains consciousness in time to fight off Jack and rescue Ann. As Peter and Ann make it out of the house, Jack starts up the cellar steps but is doused with kerosene by the dying hit man, and Jack goes up in flames. The house burns to the ground. Some time later, Peter—now back in New York City—walks past a major bookseller’s window and sees that his book “Dream House” has become a number one national bestseller.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)The acting is good, the thrilling scenes are good enough and the plot confusion doesn’t spoil the movie whole after all.

REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Felicity Jones (Rogue One)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Campbell Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Skyler Gisondo (Vacation)
Stan Lee (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)
Max Charles (American Sniper)
B.J. Novak (Saving Mr. Banks)
J.D. Walsh (Two and a Half Men)

In 2000, Oscorp scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. The plane crashes, killing both Richard and Mary, after he uploads the video.Fourteen years later, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich. Later, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony and, insisting he keep his vow to her father, ends their relationship. Peter’s childhood friend, Harry Osborn, returns to Manhattan to see his terminally-ill father, Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is genetic, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.While working in an OsCorp laboratory, electrical engineer Max Dillon shocks himself by accident and falls into a tank of genetically-engineered electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals that she may move to England for schooling. Before they can discuss it, Dillon wanders into Times Square, accidentally causing a blackout, and is stopped by Peter after a battle. Dillon is taken to Ravencroft Institute, where he is studied by German scientist Dr. Kafka. Meanwhile, the first symptoms of Harry’s illness are showing, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, to aid him in finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. Although he later comes to Harry as Spider-Man, he still refuses, and Harry develops an intense hatred towards Spider-Man. The OsCorp board-members, in particular the vice-president, Donald Menken, frame Harry for covering up Dillon’s accident, remove him as CEO, overthrow him and take control of Oscorp. Harry’s assistant, Felicia Hardy, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Dillon, who now calls himself “Electro,” to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armour and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically-altered spiders. The venom accelerates Harry’s illness and transforms him into a goblin-like creature, but the suit’s built-in emergency protocol restores his health and cures his disease.Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the British scholarship and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and, vowing to go wherever she goes, they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him as Spider-Man. Gwen follows, and together they restore power and overload Electro’s body, killing him.The transformed Harry, who now calls himself “Green Goblin”, arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry. Upon seeing Gwen, he deduces Spider-Man’s secret identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her and takes her to the top of a clock tower. Peter manages to defeat the Green Goblin, but his webbing breaks during the battle and Gwen falls to her death. Peter, depressed and distraught, mourns over Gwen’s death and ends his career as Spider-Man. Five months later, Harry is coping with the aftereffects of his transformation while incarcerated at Ravencroft. His associate, Gustav Fiers, visits Harry and the pair discuss forming their own team. Harry orders Fiers to start with Sytsevich. Later an unknown team of men break Sytsevich out of prison. Equipped with electromechanical suit armor, Sytsevich calls himself the Rhino and rampages through the streets. Peter, inspired by Gwen’s graduation speech, resumes his role as Spider-Man and confronts him.The Amazing Spider-Man 2 nearly earns an honest emotional response over this pairing. The writing could be better, but Garfield and Stone do an excellent job selling their roles and this movie. I am a big fan of Stone, and she elevates Garfield’s already solid performance. Webb does not quite find the balance between this drama and spectacle, and the film understandably includes a number of rollicking action sequences. The visual effects are strong, but the bullet-time slow motion feels a bit stale. There is a lot of flash to these bits, but not much substance. This is an entertaining film that could be better.

REVIEW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING

 

CAST

Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Cate Blanchett (Babel)
John Rhys-Davies (Beyond The Mask)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Bernard Hill (True Crime)
Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars Episode II & III)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Miranda Otto (I, Frankenstein)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Andy Serkis (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Ian Holm (Alien)
Marton Csokas (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)
Bruce Hopkins (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Ian Hughes (Hercules: TLJ)
Bruce Phillips (Power Rangers RPM)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stephen Ure (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Jed Brophy (The Hobbit)
Craig Parker (Reign)
Allistair Browning (Hercules: TLJ)
Paul Norell (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)

Gandalf leads Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and King Théoden to Isengard where they reunite with Merry and Pippin. With Saruman defeated, Gandalf retrieves Saruman’s palantír. Overcome by curiosity, Pippin steals a glance into the seeing-stone, and suffers a mental attack from Sauron himself. Gandalf deduces that Sauron will attack Gondor’s capital Minas Tirith, so he rides there to warn them, taking Pippin with him because Sauron thinks Pippin is the ring bearer.Meanwhile, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee are led by Gollum to Minas Morgul where they witness the Witch-king of Angmar leading an Orc army to drive Denethor’s younger son Faramir and his men from Osgiliath. At Gollum’s urging, the three begin climbing a precarious stair carved in the cliff face that will take them into Mordor via a ‘secret way’. But having overheard Gollum’s plot to regain the Ring, Sam keeps a suspicious eye on him. In Gondor, Pippin follows Gandalf’s instructions and secretly lights the beacon to signal Théoden to assemble the Rohirrim and come to Gondor’s aid.While helping Théoden gather his forces, Aragorn is approached by Elrond who says Arwen is dying. After seeing a vision of her son she refused to leave Middle Earth. Elrond then gives Aragorn the sword Andúril, Isildur’s sword Narsil reforged, so he can reclaim his birthright while gaining reinforcements from the Dead Men of Dunharrow. Joined by Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn travels to the Paths of the Dead, recruiting the Army of the Dead with the promise to release them from their curse once they fulfil their oath to Isildur.Faramir is gravely wounded after a futile effort to retake Osgiliath, and believing his son to be dead, Denethor falls into madness. Gandalf is left to command the city defences against the Orc army led by Gothmog. But as Gothmog’s forces eventually force their way into the city, Denethor tries to kill himself and Faramir on a pyre. Pippin alerts Gandalf and they save Faramir, but Denethor leaps to his death from the top of Minas Tirith just before Théoden and the Rohirrim arrive. Initially the Rohirrim have the advantage at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, but are eventually overwhelmed by the Oliphaunt-riding Haradrim while the Witch-king mortally wounds Théoden. Though Théoden’s niece Éowyn, having posed as a male soldier, battles and slays the Witch-King with Merry’s help, Théoden dies of his wounds. Aragorn arrives with the Army of the Dead, they overcome the Orcs and win the battle. The Dead are released from their curse, and the wounded are tended to. Aragorn and the other captains of Men decide to lead all who can march upon the Black Gate as a distraction, so Frodo and Sam can get to Mount Doom.Meanwhile, Gollum manipulates Frodo into leaving Sam behind before they arrive at the tunnel leading to Mordor, and then tricks him into lair of the giant spider Shelob, who paralyses and binds Frodo. Sam arrives and drives Shelob away, but believing his friend to be dead takes Frodo’s sword Sting and The One Ring for safekeeping. When he sees Frodo’s body being taken by Orcs to Cirith Ungol he realises that Frodo is still alive, and gives chase. Sam rescues Frodo from the Orcs, and returns the Ring to him.Aragorn’s army draw out Sauron’s forces and empty Mordor, allowing the exhausted Hobbits to stagger to the volcano, but they’re attacked by Gollum when they reach Mount Doom. Frodo finally succumbs to the Ring’s power and claims it as his own, and refuses to destroy it. Gollum attacks Frodo and bites his finger off to reclaim the Ring, but Frodo fights back and knocks Gollum, who is holding the Ring, into the volcano. While Frodo holds onto the ledge for dear life, Sam manages to save him and both escape the volcano at the last second. The Ring and Sauron are both destroyed, causing a chain-reaction that consumes the mountain, topples Barad-dûr, and kills most of the fleeing Orcs as the ground crumbles beneath them. Gandalf flies in with eagles to rescue the Hobbits, who awaken later in Minas Tirith and are reunited with the surviving Fellowship members.Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor and takes Arwen as his queen. They, and all others present at his coronation, bow before Frodo and the Hobbits. The Hobbits then return to the Shire where Sam marries Rosie Cotton. Frodo, while happy for his friends, is unable to cope with the traumas of his journey, and departs Middle Earth for the Grey Havens with his uncle Bilbo, Gandalf, and the Elves. He leaves Sam the Red Book of Westmarch which details their adventures. Though saddened by Frodo’s departure, Sam is gladdened by the warm welcome he receives upon returning home.

This is one of the best series of all time, Fellowship Of The Ring still nicks it as my fave of the three movies if I was pushed to choose. You can’t really detract from what Peter Jackson has achieved with this film, Tolkien himself gave the film rights away for practically nothing, deeming the book impossible to translate to film. Peter Jackson proved him wrong and we now have a great trilogy of films that will stand the test of time.

REVIEW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS

CAST

Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Cate Blanchett (Babel)
John Rhys-Davies (Beyond The Mask)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars Episode II & III)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Andy Serkis (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Ian Holm (Alien)
Marton Csokas (Alice In Wonderland)
David Weatherley (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Craig Parker (Reign)
Mark Ferguson (Hercules In The Underworld)

In the Second Age of Middle-earth, the Dark Lord Sauron forges the One Ring in Mount Doom to conquer all, abandoning a great part of his power to it in order to dominate, through it, at a distance, the other Rings of Power, which had been granted to lords of Elves, Dwarves and Men. An army of men and elves battle Sauron’s forces in Mordor, where Prince Isildur of Gondor cuts the One Ring off of Sauron’s finger, thereby temporarily destroying his physical shape, and decides to take care of the Ring himself, but the evil influence of the Ring corrupts Isildur, preventing him from destroying it in Mount Doom. Isildur is later killed by Orcs, and the Ring is lost for 2,500 years, found and owned by Gollum for five centuries. The Ring is then found by a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins.Sixty years on, Bilbo celebrates his 111th birthday in the Shire, reuniting with his old friend Gandalf the Grey. Bilbo reveals he intends on leaving the Shire for one last adventure and leaves his inheritance to his nephew Frodo, including the Ring. Gandalf investigates the Ring, discovering its true identity and warns Frodo. Learning Gollum was tortured by Orcs and told them that Bilbo took the Ring, Gandalf instructs Frodo to leave the Shire, accompanied by his gardener Samwise Gamgee. Gandalf rides to Isengard, meeting fellow wizard Saruman the White, but learns he is in league with Sauron, who has unleashed the Ringwraiths to find Frodo. After a brief battle, Saruman imprisons Gandalf. Frodo and Sam are joined by fellow Hobbits, Merry and Pippin, and they evade the Ringwraiths, arriving in Bree where they are meant to meet Gandalf, but are instead aided by a ranger named Strider, a friend of Gandalf’s who escorts them to Rivendell.The Hobbits are ambushed by the Ringwraiths, one stabbing Frodo with a morgul blade. Arwen, an elf and Strider’s lover, comes to Frodo’s aid and successfully takes him to Rivendell where he is healed, meeting Gandalf who escaped Saruman on the back of a giant eagle. Arwen’s father, Lord Elrond, holds a council, deciding that the Ring must be destroyed in Mount Doom. While the members argue, Frodo volunteers to take the Ring, accompanied by Gandalf, Sam, Merry, Pippin, elf Legolas, dwarf Gimli, Boromir of Gondor, and Strider, who is revealed to be Aragorn, Isildur’s heir and rightful King of Gondor. Bilbo gives Frodo his sword, Sting. The Fellowship of the Ring sets off but Saruman’s magic forces them to travel through the Mines of Moria.The Fellowship find the dwarves within Moria have been slain, and they are attacked by Orcs and a cave troll. They defeat them, but are confronted by an ancient demon called the Balrog. Gandalf casts the Balrog into a vast chasm, but its fiery whip drags Gandalf down into the darkness with it. The rest of the Fellowship, now led by Aragorn, reach Lothlórien, home to elves Galadriel and Celeborn. Galadriel privately informs Frodo that only he can complete the quest and one of his friends will try to take the Ring. Meanwhile, Saruman creates an army of Uruk-hai to track and kill the Fellowship save Frodo.The Fellowship leave Lothlórien by river to Parth Galen. Frodo wanders off, confronted by Boromir who tries to take the Ring in desperation. Afraid of the Ring corrupting his friends, Frodo decides to travel to Mordor alone. The other members fight off the Uruk-hai, but Merry and Pippin are taken captive, and Boromir is mortally wounded by the Uruk chieftain. After killing the chieftain, Aragorn helps Boromir die peacefully. Sam follows Frodo, accompanying him to keep his promise to Gandalf to protect Frodo, while Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli go to rescue Merry and Pippin.The extended versions are easily recommended over the theatrical versions. Across the three films you’re getting at least two hours of additional scenes which cover more of the story and fill in the gaps. Some of them are not plot critical, hence their original omission, but it’s nice to have them all the same.

REVIEW: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010)

CAST

Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak)
Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Cinderella)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Crispin Glover (Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter)
Matt Lucas (Bridesmaids)
Frances de la Tour (Mr. Holmes)
Marton Csokas (Xena)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Alan Rickman (Harry Potter)
Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Barbara Windsor (Eastenders)
Paul Whitehouse (Corpse Bride)
Timothy Spall (Rock Star)
Michael Gough (Batman)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Imelda Staunton (Paddington)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Lucy Davenport (Gangster Squad)
Tim Pigott-Smith (V For Vendetta)
Lindsay Duncan (Birdman)
Geraldine James (Sherlock Holmes)
Jemma Powell (The Stranger)
Eleanor Tomlinson (Jack The Giant Slayer)
Joel Swetow (The Orville)
Jim Carter (Downtown Abbey)
Annalise Basso (Bedtime Stories)
Cortney Palm (Zombeavers)

 

MV5BMjI4Nzc5MTA5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc0MDIwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1615,1000_AL_Troubled by a strange recurring dream and mourning the loss of her beloved father, nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh attends a garden party at Lord Ascot’s estate. There she is confronted by an unwanted marriage proposal to Hamish Ascot and the stifling expectations of the society in which she lives. Unsure of how to proceed, she pursues a rabbit wearing a blue waistcoat and accidentally falls into a large rabbit hole under a tree. She emerges in a forest where she is greeted by the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, the Dodo, the Talking Flowers, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum.MV5BMTgwMTQzNDI1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTc0MDIwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1616,1000_AL_They argue over her identity as “the right Alice” who must slay the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky and restore the White Queen to power, as foretold by Absolem the Caterpillar and his prophetic scroll. The group is then ambushed by the Bandersnatch and a group of playing-card soldiers led by the Knave of Hearts. Alice, Tweedledum and Tweedledee escape into the woods. The Knave steals the Caterpillar’s scroll. The Dormouse leaves the others behind with one of the Bandersnatch’s eyes in her possession. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are then captured by the Red Queen’s Jubjub bird.
MV5BMTgwMTQzNDI1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTc0MDIwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1616,1000_AL_The Knave informs the Red Queen that Alice threatens her reign, and the soldiers and Bayard the Bloodhound are ordered to find Alice immediately. Meanwhile, the Cheshire Cat guides Alice to the March Hare and the Hatter. The Hatter helps Alice avoid capture by allowing himself to be seized instead. Later, Alice is found by Bayard the Bloodhound; but Alice insists upon helping the Hatter. At the Queen’s citadel, the Red Queen is unaware of Alice’s true identity and therefore welcomes her as a guest, named Um from Umbridge. Alice learns that the Vorpal Sword, the only weapon capable of killing the Jabberwocky, is locked inside the den of the Bandersnatch. The Knave crudely attempts to seduce Alice, but she rebuffs him, and a jealous Red Queen orders Alice beheaded.MV5BODMyNzc2Njk4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU4MTA0Mg@@._V1_Alice obtains the sword and befriends the Bandersnatch by returning its eye. She then escapes on the back of the grateful Bandersnatch and delivers the sword to the White Queen. The Cheshire Cat saves the Hatter from the executioner, and the Hatter calls for rebellion against the Red Queen. The rebellion is quickly put down by the Jubjub bird, but the resistance flees to the White Queen’s castle, and both armies prepare for battle. Former caterpillar Absolem advises Alice to fight the Jabberwocky just before completing his transformation into a pupa.
MV5BMTc5MDAwOTYzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTc0MDIwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1616,1000_AL_On the appointed day, the White and Red Queens gather their armies on a chessboard-like battlefield and send Alice and the Jabberwocky to decide the battle in single combat. Encouraged by the advice of her late father, Alice fights the Jabberwocky among the ruins surrounding the battlefield and finally jumps from the remains of a spiral staircase onto the Jabberwocky’s neck and beheads it. The White Queen sends the Red Queen and the Knave into exile. After the Hatter performs a celebration dance called Futterwacken, the White Queen gives Alice a vial of the Jabberwocky’s purple blood whose power will bring her whatever she wishes. She decides to rejoin the everyday world. Back in England, Lord Ascot takes Alice as his apprentice with the idea of establishing oceanic trade routes to Hong Kong. As the story closes, Alice prepares to set off on a trading ship. A light-blue butterfly lands on her shoulder, and Alice recognizes him as Absolem.MV5BMjM3MTM3NjM1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDc0MDIwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1616,1000_AL_This film is a modern take on the traditional tale of Alice in wonderland, it is absolutely brilliant I cannot recommend it enough. It is highly entertaining and definitely extremely enjoyable for families as well as any aged disney fan.